My Favourite Stones

I mostly use semiprecious stones in my work: turquoise, labradorite, amazonite, aquamarine, quartz, rock crystal, lapis lazuli, agate, amethyst, carnelian, moonstone, coral, jade, iolite, kyanite, sunset dumortierite, larimar, sodalite, apatite… Here are some of my favourite stones and the bracelets I use them in.

LAPIS LAZULI

Top quality lapis lazuli comes from Afghanistan where it has been mined for thousands of years. It is also found in Siberia, Chile, the US and Pakistan. The name has international roots; lapis in Latin means stone and lazuli comes from an old Arabic word ‘aalzjward’ meaning heaven, blue or sky.

The ancient Egyptians used powdered lapis as an eyelid cosmetic and the mask of Tutankhamen was covered with lapis lazuli inlays. From the days of the ancient Greece and Rome through the Renaissance, lapis was used to make a pigment producing the intense blue of many of the world’s most famous oil paintings

PEARLS

Birthstone for June

Formed inside an oyster in both freshwater and saltwater environments, pearls are one of the only gems made by a living organism. Known as the Queen of Gems, pearls are renowned for their iridescence, radiance and their natural beauty.  They have been used as decorative items as far back as the 5th century BC. The Greeks believed that wearing pearls would promote marital bliss and prevent newlywed women from crying.

One of the most celebrated pearls of all times is known as ‘La Peregrina’ meaning ‘the pilgrim’. Set in a stunning necklace, La Peregrina was purchased in 1969 for $37,000 by actor Richard Burton as a gift for his wife, Elizabeth Taylor. It was sold in 2011 for $11.8 million. Traditionally given as a gift on the 30th wedding anniversary… mine is coming up!

AMETHYST

Birthstone for February

The best varieties of amethyst can be found in Siberia, Sri Lanka, Brazil and the Far East. One legend of the origin of amethyst comes from a Greek myth. Bacchus the god of wine wept tears of remorse over Amethyst, a beautiful young maiden, who had been turned into a crystalline statue, thus colouring the crystal purple.

The ancient Greeks believed that drinking wine from a vessel made from amethyst would make the drinker immune from intoxication. The word is derived from the ancient Greek word ‘amethustos’ meaning ‘not drunk’. Leonardo Da Vinci wrote that amethyst was able to dissipate evil thoughts and quicken the intelligence. Some fine amethysts are featured in the British Crown Jewels.

ROCK CRYSTAL

The transparent, colourless variety of quartz, known as rock crystal is found in Brazil, Switzerland, Hungary and India.

The ancients believed it was formed of petrified ice. Vessels and spheres have been carved from large crystals since ancient times, and the application of the word crystal to fine glassware derives from this practice.

The Romans used rock crystal for making jewellery, stamps and vases. Today its use also includes electronic and optical equipment.

AQUAMARINE

Birthstone for March

The majority of aquamarine is found in Brazil. In the Middle Ages, people thought that aquamarine could overcome the effects of poison.

Aquamarine gets its beautiful colour from trace amounts of iron and its name from Latin, ‘aqua marina’, means ‘sea water’. A legend says that sailors wore aquamarine gemstones to keep them safe and prevent seasickness.

“As I look at my collection of stones my heart takes a leap at the sheer joy of such beauty; endless treasures of exquisite colours, patterns, textures and combinations to be discovered.”